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Jason Rubin Interview

by Kikizo

Published 2003


June 2003 interview with Jason Rubin, then President of Naughty Dog (from 2001 onwards a subsidiary of Sony), which he then later left in 2004. The time of the interview was before the Jak II release date.

The interview deals with his history with games, computers and the business - including with Andrew Gavin, how he made "Punch out" his first game he didn't copy over because of lack of hard drives, and his first published game "Ski Crazed" around age 16/17.

He then gets asked about $3.5M quoted number for Jak II, and says budgets are a lot higher and he even personally invested part of $3.5M himself for Jak 1.

He then talks a bit about Sony and the relationship between Naughty Dog and them, then about how his success is for him, as well as his late nights, and a personal moment he had.

Moving onto Hirokazu Yasuhara and his history, and role at Naughty Dog, and much about him. He also mentions the problems of interviews and trying to represent the work of 63 other people.

He then discussed Jak II in some detail, with the production and design involved, as well as comparisons with Insomniac Inc.'s games.

See the segments section for the questions asked and timings.

Videogame-related footage taken from Kikizo's archives.
[Thanks to Kikizo.com for donating this footage.]


Run time 34 minutes 58 seconds
Producer Kikizo
Production Company Kikizo
Audio/Visual (HQ WMV) Windows Media Audio 44100Hz mono 48Kbps, (HQ WMV) Windows Media Video 7 320x240 4.00fps 112Kbps
Language English

Segments

Interview questions and timings:

MM:SS
00:18 "First of all can you tell us briefly about how you got started in the games business?"
05:16 "Talking about numbers, we've seen a figure of three and a half million dollars quoted for Jak II" "For what?" "What does this figure relate to?"
06:08 "What was behind the decision to sell Insomniac compared to the Jak franchise?"
07:20 "How does your success [with Naughty Dog] make you feel?"
11:41 "There has been some additions to your team, including [Hirokazu] Yasuhara. from the Sonic team. How did you steal him and what does he do now?" (later questions about him: "How long has he been at Naughty Dog?" "he was easier to move since he has worked in San Fransico?" "How good is his English?")
17:02 "Do you think Japanese consumers will be aware of the fact, you know, a designer of his calibre and obviously Japanese was behind 50% of the design?"
18:27 "Moving onto Jak 2, which part of Jak 2 are you most excited about?"
20:15 "I mean, it doesn't seem like anything has been done in this game just as a gimmick...so how does [something I can't make out to do with Daxter controlling things] work?"
21:22 "You mentioned Dark Jak, what's the deal with him?"
22:50 "What are some of your favourite levels and environments in Jak II?"
25:53 "A couple of things about the cutscenes. First of all, there is quite a lot of it, 70 minutes, what does that bring to the formula? and how come the voice acting isn't crap like 90% of the other videogames?"
28:24 "One of the things you are quite passionate about is not just the caricaturisation side of the game concept but the story as well. What I am saying is it is one of the driving factors of Jak 2. Where do you think this is going in the future?"
30:22 "How is Jak 2 going to compete with Ratchet and Clank 2?"
31:54 "What's the next step for Naughty Dog? And also what two things excite you the most about next-gen hardware?"

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